Read all parts. A different story. It's plot is very nice. I wish to see a bit more to Arnav's life and how they both try to find it. That would be very interesting.
Chapter 14 - Dream
Khushi was on sick leave from office for 2 days. Yesterday Arnav had almost smothered her in what was his version of caring for someone.' It was a bit too much for her but her health did improve. She secretly credited him, for some of the improvement; though not out loud lest he resume his duties seriously again.
It was the night before she rejoined office the next day. Seeing her in better health had made him relax and stop hovering over her. She would thank him whole-heartedly once she was back to her daily routine - starting tomorrow. Any show of gratefulness now would make him fuss again.
She had eaten her dinner and taken the medicines. After resting for 2 days straight, she didn't have much sleep in her but the medicines would make her groggy soon. She sat up on the bed with her back resting on the headboard. It was 11 pm.
Arnav was sitting on the chair near her bed reading a book - it had become somewhat of a permanent spot for him since the past 2 days.
"What are you reading?" she asked.
He looked up from the book, to the small clock on her bed stand, "You should be sleeping. It's late."
She rolled her eyes, "I will, in sometime. You have been reading that so intently."
"This," he placed a bookmark and shut the book, "I found this underneath your bag. It's a murder mystery and quite interesting."
"This is the unpublished novel from work. I was supposed to be editing this," she replied, "Will you read aloud? I am getting bored."
"Okay," he responded and turned to the first page about to start when she cut in, "Come and sit here," she patted the area on the bed next to her.
He obliged, and she shifted a little on the small bed to make space for him. He rested his back on the wall, next to her and started reading. Khushi closed her eyes, listening to voice. There was a softness to it. Arnav was reading to her like one would to a kid. He would modulate his voice as per the plot and while reading the dialogues.
Khushi pressed her lips, trying not to grin. She didn't want to make him conscious and she was enjoying they way he read. His voice was soothing and some 20 pages later, she found herself drifting to sleep.
She rested her head on his shoulder and for a second, he stopped reading.
"Go on," she prodded him softly. He resumed reading, but she could hear a shift in his tone. Like his mouth is speaking out the words but his mind his somewhere else.
Her head was leaning against his shoulder and Arnav's stomach was doing somersaults. He tried hard to focus on the words but it was getting more and more difficult, given their proximity.
Some pages later, she had snuggled in closer to him, the space between them which had existed in the start was now filled, with their legs lightly touching one another's.
Arnav took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. He continued reading even when her arm snaked around his. After some time, she was no longer moving. She had fallen asleep, it seemed, snuggled comfortably against him.
He sat still, not wanting to disturb her. Warmth radiated from her tiny frame. This felt nice, this felt like... peace.
"Khushi," Arnav whispered, so as not to startle her, "you should sleep properly on the bed."
"Mmhmm..." she muttered in her sleep, shifting slightly.
He put his hand on her shoulder, "Khushi," he whispered, shaking her shoulder, very lightly.
She tilted her head up and pressed her chin on his shoulder. With her eyes closed, she mumbled something he couldn't make out. She was so close to him, he could feel her hot breath on his neck.
He removed his hand from her shoulder, bringing it closer to her face, letting it hover above her. All he wanted was to run his fingers on her smooth skin, touch the strand of hair on her forehead, gently touch her lips.
Almost as if she could sense his thoughts, she slowly opened her eyelids. Her eyes met his and before he could know what was happening, she closed the distance between them and pressed her lips against his.
It was a peck on his lips and lasted for a couple of seconds. Even before he could process what was happening, she pulled away. Despite that, he was spellbound. His heart was beating against his ribcage, so rapidly that he thought it would fall out.
She had slid down and now was lying on the bed. Her small palm was intertwined in his. For many moments, Arnav remained still in the dark, besides a sleeping Khushi.
Something had changed and he didn't know how he would be able to carryon.
The next day, Khushi had snoozed her alarm and was late for office. She had hurriedly eaten a portion of fruit just so she could take her medicine, under the watchful eyes of Arnav and rushed out without time to even exchange greetings.
She came home earlier than most days, to find Arnav sitting silently on the couch, lost in thought. He didn't even notice when she unlocked the house.
"Penny for your thoughts?" she asked, dropping her bag on the dining table and plopping on the couch, next to him.
He shifted in his seat, not meeting her eyes. "Erm... nothing."
"What is it?" she prodded him.
He pressed his lips before replying, "Well... I was just thinking about... you know... last night."
She quirked an eyebrow and shrugged her shoulder.
"When we... when you..." he stuttered. Why was she not picking up what he was implying?
"Kissed." He spoke the word in a whisper.
Khushi widened her eyes and covered her mouth with her hands. Out came a muffled "O my God!"
She moved her hands and bit her lower lip, "I kissed you? For real? It wasn't a dream?"
Arnav's mouth rounded into an o.' Of course she didn't kiss him or want to. She was groggy from the medication.
"Crap!" she mumbled, the colors in her cheek rising, "I thought I was dreaming. These meds really mess with you."
"Yeah... no..." he rambled out words, making the situation even more awkward.
"I am so sorry," she said.
"You don't have to be," he replied immediately, "It was just a peck. It lasted hardly for a split second."
They both sat in silence for sometime, looking anywhere but at each other.
"So..." she broke the silence, "we are cool, right? Things won't get awkward or anything?"
Awkward? Things have gone way past awkward for him. Was it bad if all he wanted to do right now was to kiss her again? Rather, kiss her properly.
He shook off his thoughts and told himself to calm down.
"Arnav?" she took his name, "Are we okay?"
He could lie and say that it was okay. He could act like it was. But for how long? He was tied to the house and to her, literally. How could he fool himself and till when?
"I..." he considered telling her what he was feeling, how his emotions for her were changing. But what would that achieve? She would freak out if she found out he, a ghost, was falling for her. Any normal human would, wouldn't they? But she wasn't just any other human, another part of him reasoned. She was the person who freed him, who somehow, was turning him into one of them.
He swiveled himself on the couch to face her. Seeing his terse face, made her solemn.
"Khushi... I..." he repeated, almost on the verge of telling the truth when it hit him - even if he told the truth what would happen? If, by an infinitesimal chance, she too felt the same (which he doubted) what would they do? It wasn't rational; it wasn't logical.
So he went with the easier solution. He lied.
"Yeah, everything is fine."
He was about to say something else, Khushi could sense. It was almost at the tip of his tongue but due to some reason, he refrained from doing so.
He had said "everything is fine" but Khushi could feel it in her bones that nothing was.
Although; he wasn't the only one who was lying. She had been hiding certain things too - from him and mainly from herself. She knew that once she even so much as started thinking about it, a floodgate in her mind would open and she would never be able to stop.
Somehow, failing logic and rationality, she found herself attracted to Arnav. The more time they spent together, the more she found falling for him. It was inexplicable and she had tried to control herself but she had failed.
In more than 2 decades of her life, she had no one. No one who cared for her or loved her. And yet, this ghost, this man in front of her, had broken his restraints to save her. He would do everything, even trivial things for her like taking care of her when she had fever, making breakfast for her, doing housework when he thought she wasn't noticing - everything that a human companion would do. Then why did she have to over see all this just because-
She stopped herself. She knew going down this road was futile.
"Okay then," she stood up and straightened her shirt. She started heading for her room, but stopped midway.
She turned around to face Arnav. He was standing a few feet away from her.
"You know what," she spoke as she took a step toward him, her heart beat rising at the anticipation of what she was going to do.
"Everything is not," she spoke, taking a step closer with each word, till she was standing right in front of him, occupying his personal space, "fine."
With that, she closed the distance between them as her lips took his. Arnav gasped for an instant before parting his lips and deepening the kiss.
Her soft warm lips moved against his. It was slow and to Arnav, it was burning.
All logic, all justification, all hurdles were out the window as he reveled in what he would describe the best experience of his existence.
He wrapped an arm around her slender waist and pulled her closer, pressing her body against his. He ran his tongue along her lower lip and she trembled at the sensation. Her reaction aroused him more and he ran his finger through her locks.
They stood like that, for what was a couple of minutes, but felt like eternity, before she pulled away. They looked at each other, unsure of how the other would react. None of them spoke.
His heart was beating wildly and he could sense, so was hers.
"That was..." Khushi mumbled, her cheeks turning pink.
"A surprise," Arnav found his voice, his lips curving in a smile.
"Okay," she replied, returning his smile.
And the awkwardness had returned. Arnav realized he was good at haunting but absolute crap at talking. What should he do? Seeing her teeth burrowing on her lip made him wish he could kiss her again.
"Okay," she repeated, trying to fill the silence with words even if they were random.
Khushi pressed her lips before standing up. Without another word she went to her room and shut the door behind her.
Arnav sat on the couch, awestruck, his heartbeat now resuming to normalcy.
Khushi pressed her back on the wooden door and closed her eyes. "O my God!" she breathed, not able to believe what she had initiated. She sat on her bed, her heart still beating somewhat evenly. Should she go out to the drawing room? What would that accomplish? Did she want to continue where they had left off?
She groaned and pressed her face on the pillow. She would think over all this in the morning. She desperately hoped for sleep but she knew it would not come. Not tonight.
It was around 3 in the morning. She was right. Sleep had evaded her tonight. She could hear the faint sound of the TV playing outside.
Suddenly she heard Arnav yell, "Khushi!" The next moment he had appeared next to her bed.
"Shit!" Khushi squeaked and sat upright. "How many times have I asked you not to do that-." She couldn't complete her sentence. He had placed his hand on her arm tightly and in the next second, she found herself standing in the drawing room.
He had teleported. This time with her! She felt dizzy and grabbed Arnav's arm for support. Before she could reel from the shock of transferring herself through time and space in what she thought could only happen in a sci-fi movie, he frantically pointed at the news on the TV.
"I saw her on the news!" he was exclaiming, his eyes wide with shock, "The woman from my memory, the one who calls my name. I saw her!"
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
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